Amy Tang and Ashia Smith can’t really describe their chemistry, but it just seems to work and that’s certainly good enough for them. The duo make up the middle legs of the St. Anthony’s 4x100 meter relay — a unit that can now call itself the best team in the Catholic League.
“I know that, once [Smith] hits that mark, that I go off hard and she always catches me,” Tang said.
An expert exchange between the two was key to a 49.32 second victory at the 92nd running of the CHSAA Intersectional track and field championships at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island Saturday afternoon. The win, which was bookended by leadoff leg Giavanna Ciaravino and anchor leg Felicity Permenter-Davis, helped the Friars to a team victory as well. St. Anthony’s scored 48 points and St. John the Baptist was second with 42.5.
“I think it’s because we support each other,” Smith said of her chemistry with Tang. “On and off [the track], we’re always there for each other, so it’s easy for us to connect. We’re both so willing to put the work in.”
Permenter-Davis called the final handoff between her and Tang ‘beautiful.’
“We just get it,” Permenter-Davis said. “It clicks.”
The victory qualified the team for the state championships, scheduled for June 7-8 in Middletown.
“It feels great,” Ciaravino said. “We started the season off at 51 seconds, and now we’re down to almost 48.”
St. Anthony’s also performed well in the field. Marisa D’Angelo won the pole vault, clearing 10 feet, and Arianna Alladio Zacpal won the shot put with a 32 foot, eight inch toss. The distance was a personal best, she said.
“I was focusing on my technique and trying to pop my hips so it would go farther,” Alladio Zacpal said. “Today was the first meet where I think I consistently popped my hips, and all of my throws were over 31 [feet].”
She added that popping her hips, an important move in the glide technique, is essential to starting the shot put off high. “Or else the ball stays flat and you use a lot of feet,” she said.
Elsewhere, Kellenberg’s 4x800 meter team, composed of Maya Richardson, Madeline Lay, Ashley Minns, and Maureen Lewin, won in 9 minutes, 36.59 seconds. Lewin, who also won the 800 meters in 2:15.87, was named track MVP of the meet.
Lewin took her individual race out hard and won easily. She said she was looking for a fast time to put her in a prime heat at the state championships.
“It was a bit slower than I wanted,” Lewin said. “I was hoping for maybe 2:12 or 2:13, but I think I ran pretty well. I was really trying to work my third 200 . . . There were great girls in the field. I knew they’d stay right on me the first lap.”
Lewin said wind on the back straight away, and the lack of another girl willing to open the race hard, slowed her down from her original goal.
“Sometimes, it’s a little harder to run by yourself,” Lewin said. “I feel like maybe if one of the other girls had taken it out, I could have pushed it a little harder at some point.”
Lewin said she felt fast all week, even doing a few workouts in her spikes — something that is a rarity during the regular season.
“We normally just workout in flats,” she said. “But, as it gets towards championship season and we do our faster workouts, we put on our spikes.”
Lewin’s teammate, Kaya Jacques, won the discus, throwing 100 feet, six inches.
“I was gripping the disc better than I usually would,” Jacques said. “ . . . When you grip it, it’s supposed to come off your pointer finger. I grip it tighter with my pointer finger than any other finger, and I let it come off my pointer finger so it goes straight. At this point, it’s like an instinct.”
Sacred Heart’s Alexandria Earle won the long jump in 17 feet, 3 ¾ inches and the high jump at 5-0, and was named field MVP of the meet.
Earle said her personal best in the high jump is 5-4 and, despite the victory, felt a bit off on Saturday.
“I feel like I wasn’t ready for it yet,” Earle said of that elusive big clear. “I’m hoping that, at states, I’ll be ready for it and be able to conquer the bar like no one else.”
St. John the Baptist’s Hailey Marcello won the 2,000 steeplechase in 7:36.58.